The family of John Carthy, the 27-year-old man who was shot by the Gardaí in Abbeylara three years ago, has welcomed the broad scope of the Tribunal of inquiry into his death.

The inquiry's sole member, Mr Justice Robert Barr said he had already received over 200 witness statements, and would travel to Longford for the formal opening of the Tribunal on 12 February.

The inquiry sat today to receive applications for legal representation from Gardaí and members of Mr Carthy's family and to outline the scope of its investigation.

Mr Justice Robert Barr said it was important to remember that the inquiry was not a trial of alleged wrongdoing.

He said he would be examining the circumstances that brought about or led to Mr Carthy's death; why that tragedy came about; and what could be learnt from it.

John Carthy was shot and killed by Garda marksmen outside his home in Abbeylara after a two day stand-off.

This morning Mr Carthy's sister, Marie, was in court to witness the first sitting of the Tribunal which will investigate the circumstances surrounding his death.

36 Gardaí, who were directly involved in the siege or the shooting, are seeking legal representation, as is the Garda Síochána in a separate capacity.

John Carthy's family have also applied as well as doctors and psychiatrists who were involved with him.